Some of my favorite locations and trails in Washington state and in the PNW have very little room to move and navigate. And for a photographer who tends to direct with a lot of movement with their families, I needed some quick go-to poses to give my clients on these smaller trails without it looking like we were on gravel.
By stacking your families, create a “cuddle puddle” in the shape of a triangle, that way you’re able to get most of everyone’s face in the frame while also taking in the landscape!
Another trick I use when photographing clients on a small trail is by putting them on the edge without actually stepping off trail, and moving MY body closer. With the pandemic, this can be a little trickier, but 6 feet away is still a good place to stand to get a shot of their beautiful, smiling faces.
Moving closer so you take out the background (bottom right photo) is another trick, depending on the terrain. I tend to not mind having the trail in because I generally like the different textures in my photos. Everyone is different though!
Growing up in Washington, we are a family of avid hikers and campers. With that being said, one of my biggest priorities is practicing the Leave No Trace principles. With these smaller trails, it’s very hard to get a photo of everyone, especially those with larger families. These are a few of the poses I put my families in to respect the nature we are surrounded by and while also respecting those who are out for their daily nature therapy. For more information on Leave No Trace and how to start applying those to your sessions, here is a link! I am also not perfect, but I do my best to follow these guidelines so my clients and others have the opportunity to experience these beautiful locations in the future.
In order to preserve these locations and landscapes, I also tend to find spots where there aren’t many hikers or photographers. This creates less traffic in person and in your photos specifically on skinny trails so you’re still able to give your clients the experience of being alone in the mountains and respecting other hikers along the way!
And lastly, if you’re able to find trails with lower switchbacks, you can shoot up! Normally this isn’t something you’re taught in photography, but depending on the trail and lens, you can get close enough to your clients to make it look like you’re off trail 🙂